...deeply rooted in the future, the music mixes dissonance, jazz and classic with charm and incision … [in a] moving and engaging production.
— Hunter Opera Theatre

    MAMBO TO!”

– Rick Palley, Brooklyn Skyline

COMPOSER  Kitty Brazleton

STORY & LIBRETTO  Billy Aronson

CONCEPT & DIRECTION – Grethe Barrett Holby

LENGTH  65 Minutes

AGE GROUP  Families of all ages


  • 3 Men: Tenor, Baritone, Bass
  • 3 Women: Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Contralto


Reduced Version

  • Keyboard
  • Percussion
  • Violin
  • Electric Guitar
  • Reeds
  • Cello

Full Orchestra Version

  • Violin 1
  • Violin 2
  • Viola 
  • Cello
  • Bass
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Bass Clarinet
  • Trumpet
  • Harp
  • Guitar
  • Percussion (x4)

OTHER  Community choruses sing “The Star Spangled Banner” and recite “Paul Revere’s Ride” (optional)


DEVELOPMENT  PARTNERS – Family Opera Initiative and American Opera Projects, Major Support from the Jaffe Family Foundation, NY State Council for the Arts

PREMIERE  Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, NY, July 2002



A hilarious opera/musical about a curious Alien who travels to Earth to investigate why we shoot colored lights into the sky every year on the 4th of July. The Alien encounters a geeky high school boy, a rebellious teenage girl, a pompous street actor, and the park’s groundskeeper, who wishes everyone would take more civic pride in their park. The Alien has explored zillions of galaxies, but she’s never seen anything as brash, daring or infectious as this idea of Democracy!


KITTY BRAZELTON (COMPOSER)  rejoices in the keen expression she achieves by infusing vernacular American dialects into deep, complex structures. Her full-length opera, Fireworks! was commissioned by American Opera Projects. She composed orchestral work Sleeping Out of Doors (1998); a piano concerto commissioned and premiered by conductor Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble. Chamber music credits include the N.Y.S.C.A. cyber-punk fantasia 5 Dreams, marriage (premiered by her unique quartet, What Is It Like to Be a Bat?), Manhattan Brass Quintet and the California EAR Unit. Brazelton created electronic compositions for pianist Kathleen Supové, duos Twisted Tutu and Double Edge, choreographers Jody Oberfelder and Gina Gibney, Kitchen House Blend, and Relâche.

BILLY ARONSON (STORY & LIBRETTO)  has written plays produced by Playwright’s Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theatre. Additional credits include original concept and lyrics for the hit musical Rent; Flurry Tale and Fireworks! for Family Opera Initiative;  Cartoon Network, Children's Television Workshop (Sesame English and the Sesame Street home video), the Disney Channel, MTV, PBS, Nickelodeon, A&E International, The History Channel, and Comedy Central. He has been awarded Best American Short Plays 1992-1993, 1999-2000, for his plays from the Woolly Mammoth. Aronson is a graduate of the Yale Drama School and Princeton University.

GRETHE BARRETT HOLBY has directed, choreographed, performed and collaborated on world premieres at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera and La Scala. She is an original cast member of Einstein on the Beach, and has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, Lou Reed, Robert Wilson, and Yusef Komunyakaa. Founder of Ardea Arts, Family Opera Initiative, and American Opera Projects, Holby is a Rockefeller Fellowship recipient, and she holds a BS and MS from MIT.